I was reminded this week of a wonderful quote from GK Chesterton. He wrote:
“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”
(GK Chesterton, Orthodoxy)
We spent the past week at New Wine. As a family, we have been going to the New Wine summer conferences for the past ten years . We love this often rain-soaked week of camping on a showground with thousands of other people, there to worship Jesus, to hear from him, and to pray for one another.
I have loved being in an arena with 5,000 other people, singing. People in their twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, sixties, seventies, singing worship songs led by musicians with guitars, keys, drums, bass. The kind of sound that anyone in their seventies and younger in this country has grown up with. The kind of sound you might hear at any summer festival, or on the radio, directed towards the glory of God. Singing for half-an-hour and more at a time, hearts poured out.
I love it for its monotony.
Singing a two- or four-line chorus at the heart of a song
and over again.
Why? Because it resists the demand to rush on. It allows us to meditate on a particular aspect of Jesus’ nature. To drill down deeper into some truth. Until it in turn drills down deeper into us.
The Anglo-Catholic bishop Philip North, there for an afternoon seminar, pointed out that New Wine was not as far as you might think from Walsingham, perhaps the premier place of Anglo-Catholic pilgrimage in England today.
Anglo-Catholic practice including Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, where partaking in communion takes place after an extended period of adoration before the consecrated Host, or indeed praying the Rosary, tap into the same glorious monotony, slowing us to God’s pace. Charismatic Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics both in on a secret.
In a digital world of driving distraction, it refreshes and restores—it strengthens—the soul.
 We couldn’t go in 2014, so we’ve been 9 times in the past 10 years, first to Newark and more recently to Shepton Mallet. And Jo and I went to Shepton Mallet twice before we had children—and twice to Clan Gathering in Scotland—so we have history here.